Mushroom soup with onions, paprika, dill, carrots and cream sauce

HUNGARIAN MUSHROOM SOUP

A couple of months ago, while in the deli section of The Good Food Store at lunch time, I saw a pot of mushroom soup. It looked good so I helped myself to a bowl. At the checkout, the clerk smacked her lips and said that it was one of her favorites. She told me that the cooks based the mushroom soup on a recipe from an old Moosewood Cookbook. I sat down at one of the tables in the store and started spooning up the soup. I’d never tasted anything like it. The flavors of the paprika and dill were strong and surprising and when underlain by the silky and earthy mushrooms and onions the whole experience was outstanding. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of it much less never eaten it before. As soon as I got home I googled the recipe. It was written by Mollie Katzen when she was a member of the Moosewood Collective and self-published in 1974.  Now, some 50 years later, there are upwards of 30 versions of the soup online. So, after making it a few times, here is my take on this celebrated soup.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large onion, chopped – approx. 2 cups
  • 16 oz. mushrooms, sliced – approx. 5 cups
  • 3 tbsp safflower oil
  • 2 teas dried Dill weed
  • 4 teas Hungarian paprika (sweet)
  • 1 teas smoked paprika
  • 3 teas Kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. Shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced – approx. 2 cups
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup of neutral milk
  • 3 teas fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley

METHOD

Put the stock in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the sliced carrots and 1 teas Kosher salt. Reduce heat to keep at a slow boil.

Add 1 tbsp. oil to a 10-11 inch sauté pan and when it starts to shimmer add the onions and cook over med-low heat until the onions start to color about 12 minutes. Stir occasionally and don’t let them burn.

When the onions are toasty, add the sliced mushrooms and 1 teas Kosher salt to the sauté pan and cook until the mushrooms start to lose their water. Add paprika, dill weed, shoyu and 1 cup of the warm stock to the pan and stir to mix. Put a lid on the pan and cook over med-low heat for 10 minutes.

Heat the remaining 2 tbsp. of oil in a small sauce pan and add the flour, stirring constantly until the flour is incorporated into the oil. As soon as that happens add ½ cup of milk and 1 teas salt and stir to incorporate the flour/oil mixture with the milk. As that starts to thicken, add the rest of the milk and stir.  Stir for 10 minutes until the flour is cooked.

Add the white sauce to the mushroom/onion mixture and stir. Let simmer while you check the carrots. Once the carrots start to soften, add the mushroom/onion mixture to the stock and carrots, give it a stir and then simmer for 15 minutes.  Taste the broth and add more dill weed and/or salt as needed.

Ladle soup into bowls and add lemon juice. Don’t leave out the lemon juice. It really makes the flavors pop. I like to add a big spoonful of Vegan sour cream at this point. Sprinkle the parsley over bowls and serve.

This recipe makes 10 cups of soup.

NB: If you substitute regular table salt for Kosher salt, use only one-half of the amount of salt called for in the recipe.